Macbeth | Lyric Opera House | Classical | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Fri., Oct. 1, 7 p.m., Wed., Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m., Tue., Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m., Fri., Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m., Mon., Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m., Thu., Oct. 21, 2 p.m., Sun., Oct. 24, 2 p.m. and Sat., Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m. 2010
Price: $33-$207
My blood boiled during the first act of Lyric Opera of Chicago's new production of Verdi's Macbeth, as the conniving Lady Macbeth (soprano Nadja Michael, dressed to kill in cut-to-the-waist, slit-to-the crotch gowns a la Morticia Addams) and her corruptible husband (dashing baritone Thomas Hampson) plotted their infamous regicide. Not for the right reasons, though—I had missed the opening curtain and, along with a couple dozen other laggards, was relegated to opera hell, watching the first 45 minutes or so of the three-hour production on a TV in the lobby. On the small screen, it looked like it might be stunning: a towering fire in the woods, a Gehry-esque castle of curving steel. Once I was seated, not so much. The staging, by Chicago Shakespeare Theater's artistic director, Barbara Gaines, takes a reductively literal approach to a story whose impact depends on what can't be seen: the inner demons that bring about self-destruction. In this production, all-too-solid ghosts pop up like jack-in-the-boxes and witches bobble on wires like Peter Pan or Mary Poppins. But the walking forest—Great Birnam Wood, which moves upon Dunsinane Castle at the story's climax—never appears. That said, Verdi's gorgeous but often weird score—delicate when it should be fierce, rhapsodic in despair—is superbly performed all round, with the usual fine work from Lyric's chorus and orchestra, under guest conductor Renato Palumbo. —Deanna Isaacs



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